"A STELLAR WORK OF CIVIL WAR HISTORY—A CLASSIC": VERY SCARCE FIRST EDITION OF CHAMBERLAIN'S PASSING OF THE ARMIES
CHAMBERLAIN, Joshua Lawrence. The Passing of the Armies. An Account of the Final Campaign of the Army of the Potomac, Based upon Personal Reminiscences of the Fifth Army Corps. New York and London: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1915. Octavo, original blue cloth, top edge gilt. $2800.
Scarce first edition of "one of the finest accounts of a campaign penned" by a Union soldier (Eicher), with frontispiece and full-page portrait of Chamberlain, along with three color-outlined maps (two folding).
Passing of the Armies by Union General Chamberlain is a "stellar work of Civil War history—a classic… one of the finest accounts of a campaign penned" by a Union soldier: vital in its "clear and precise recording of the final campaign of the war, from the last days of fighting at the Petersburg front… [to] the surrender at Appomattox" (Eicher 146). As Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson notes, "by war's end, Chamberlain had fought in 20 battles and numerous skirmishes. He led his troops from the front, never asking them to go where he would not go…. Few Civil War soldiers could match this record." Especially powerful is Chamberlain's record of the "climactic 12 days that ended at Appomattox on Palm Sunday 1865, and of the aftermath leading up to the Grand Review of the Union Armies" (Introduction, 1993 edition). Passing of the Armies is "a work of superior quality, from the precision of the facts cited to the prose with which he has woven them together… Most valuable, perhaps, are the illuminations concerned Five Forks and the Sheridan-Warren dispute, the focus on Grant's pursuit of Lee after the lines broke, and the on-the-spot eyewitness material relating to the several days around Appomattox" (Eicher 146). Dornbusch I:37. Bookplate. Contemporary owner gift inscription.
Text and maps fresh and clean, light edge-wear, small bit of rubbing to bright gilt-stamped cloth. A near-fine copy.